Can a parent babysit their own child?


I found this definition of the word 'babysit' on Google (strangely enough, WR dictionary doesn't have the word in its database):

look after a child or children while the parents are out
My question is is it ever possible to say that a parent looks after their own child? For example, if parents are divorced and the mother calls her child's father (ex-husband, let's say):

- I must go out in the evening. Could you come over and babysit Tommy?

Or, one of the parents is jobless and they're told by their spouse:

- Well, I think in this situation it'll be best if you babysit Tommy while I go to work.
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Hmmm, in theory a 'parent' must look after his/her child and this does not count as babysitting because this is what being a parent is all about. In practice things may look a little different, particularly from the dad's perspective. :D

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    My point was that one might well use the expression in a quasi-playful sense.

    I've heard parents say they couldn't come out because they were babysitting. I'd take that to mean that, for some reason, they had decided they needed to be with their child that evening.

    It wouldn't necessarily be a pretext for declining an invitation.


    Senior Member
    Point well taken. I've always had the impression it's dads who babysit their offspring while it's mums' job to look after them. ;)
    :thumbsup: Yes - I am the dad and looking after a 1-2-3-year-old child while the mum is away is certainly a challenging and unrewarding task. I can easily say that it feels exactly like babysitting, i.e. like doing my wife a favour. However, experience has taught me to avoid mentioning this to her - the inexplicable outbursts of unprovoked fury and the dire consequences followed by severe un-Christian punishments and silence have, over the years, taught me to restrain my candid nature. In order to keep the whole family happy I even have to pretend it is enjoyable. :D

    (No, seriously, a parent must 'babysit' by definition so looking after your own child is not something I would call 'babysitting')
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